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The US-Philippine Alliance: An Evolving Hedge against an Emerging China Challenge


This article examines recent trends that have incrementally transformed the US-Philippine alliance as a hedge against an ascending China. It traces the revival of the alliance in the face of China's military modernization and expansionism in the South China Sea in the mid-1990s. It then discusses the revitalization of the US-Philippine alliance post-9/11 in the fight against global terrorism before moving on to discuss China's attempts to drive a wedge between the two allies through its soft-power diplomacy. The US has deepened its security relations with the Philippines through the provision of military and economic assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), regular consultations and defence policy reviews between the two countries' defence departments, the conduct of combined military exercises and the implementation of new defence initiatives such as the Security Engagement Board (SEB) and Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs). In conclusion, the article argues that the deepening of the alliance has two implications: first, it ensures that the US will remain the Philippines' sole strategic ally for the foreseeable future; and second, that the alliance has been transformed into a hedge against the challenge of growing Chinese power in East Asia.

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